Injured Murray out of US Open

Nadal seeking to cap year with US Open title

"I don't think there needs to be that much addressing, because the players, they have the option not to play as much as sometimes they have to or want to", added Federer, who took off the last half of 2016 to let his surgically repaired left knee heal. Sharapova is a wild card draw at this year's tournament, meaning she was offered a special, last-minute invite to play. Despite it being highly unlikely, Isner and Sock's chances are slightly higher than usual due to the vast number of injuries among the elite tennis players in the top ten rankings.

Nadal, back on top of the world rankings for the first time in three years, will be seeking his 16th Grand Slam Crown, while Federer, the five-time US Open champion is bidding for a 20th major and third Grand Slam title of the year.

"I'm not thinking what Maria did or what Maria does and how is the situation", said Halep, a two-time French Open runner-up, including a loss to Sharapova in the 2014 final. Prior to this year, Nadal had not won a Grand Slam event since 2014 and was dealing with a variety of injuries including a wrist injury that ended his 2016 campaign.

"I don't see any of them winning it". Federer replied with an unequivocal "Yes".

Nadal is known as one of the game's great artists, as he typically works the ball around the court, figures out his opponent's weakness and then attacks that spot. "Obviously love to be coming back there, especially after the fantastic past year", she said.

Eight women enter with a shot at being ranked No. 1 when the U.S. Open ends: Karolina Pliskova, the 2016 runner-up who now holds the top spot, Halep, Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, Caroline Wozniacki, Johanna Konta, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus Williams. If their first encounter at Flushing Meadows is going to happen, it will need to be in the semifinals, because the No. 1-seeded Nadal and No. 3 Federer were placed in the same side of the men's field by the draw. Not part of that mix?

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So many familiar faces and key players are missing from the field.

Serena might be sidelined from this year's tournament, but there will still be a Williams sister vying for the title: Venus. Victoria Azarenka is absent because of a custody dispute involving her infant son. Sara Errani is serving a doping ban.

The player with the second-best odds to win the 2017 U.S. Open is none other than Rafael Nadal.

All the more reason that Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios - to name but three - will be relishing seizing a golden opportunity in the Big Apple.

However, doubts persist about the German's ability over the best of five sets and he is yet to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal despite his form on the main tour. "The problem for him", Federer said, "is just the mental and physical consistency to bring it every single day".


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